Justice: It ain’t free


The Yahoo! headline for this story: New rules to combat campus sexual assaults.
Because “Don’t rape” is way too vague.

As far as I’m concerned (which is about as far as I go), any institution that handles rape as an internal issue and does not turn the offender over to police is just as culpable as Penn State was in the whole old-man-rapes-boys situation.
I’m not all “if you see something, say something,” Big Brother, watcher-on-the-wall guy; I think surveillance is way out of hand and getting worse.

However, to require federal regulations that impose fines upon a university which does not report sexual assault—alleged, proven, or otherwise—is a failure of grand proportion.  College is big money, an industry unto itself; many have their own microcosmic legal systems through which they process wrongdoings of varying degrees.  Rape is a wrongdoing of a degree beyond what a college administration can handle.

Starting July 1, all colleges and universities that receive federal funding need to comply with the new regulations.  Fact is, most higher education institutions receive Title IV money, so nearly all will need to endorse policies in-line with the Campus SaVE Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2013 alongside the unfortunately-named Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.  Did the prez just reauthorize violence against women?  That’s what it sounds like to me and Trump and Ted Cruz.  Yay, election season!

I gather from this article and the additional research I’ve conducted that it used to be ok for colleges and universities to treat instances of sexual assault—alleged, proven, or otherwise—like they’d treat an intramural Ultimate Frisbee game: with complete and utter indifference.  I brought up PSU above because it invokes strong feelings, one way or another.  My issue has been and always will be with the university’s handling of the first reports of sexual misconduct on Sandusky’s part.

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Think I just discovered part of the problem.  We refer to rape as sexual misconduct.  Misconduct sounds fun.  Rape does not.  Let’s stop calling it sexual misconduct or sexual assault and call it what it is.  Rape.  It’s a heinous, violative crime that steals another person’s dignity; humanity.  It’s to reduce another human being’s existence to that of an object; a tool; an accessory.  A lawyer likely coined the term sexual assault in an effort to lessen its effect in the opinions of jurors.

We allow an overly PC society to tell us what we can say and an equally-cryptic legal system to speak of the law in terms that the lay person simply cannot comprehend.  Well, I know that habeas corpus roughly means “has body” and that means it’s damn-near impossible to prove a murder took place without a dead guy.  Or gal.  No body, no crime.  Thank you, Law & Order.

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Yet, up until now, a college or university hasn’t been able to tell its community “Don’t be a rapist” because, what, there’s a gray area?  How’s this for a policy: Get accused of rape, go to jail.  Let the state figure it out.  Should the government not already have a law that takes away money from any institution that fails to report rape—alleged, proven, or otherwise?

Maybe I’m reacting wrongly to this story.  Maybe it’s a good thing that the federal government has intervened on behalf of the victims and stated unequivocally that an institution of higher learning which fails to report sexual assault to the proper authorities will be fined.  Wait.  $35,000?  That’s it?  That’s less than the cost of one rapist’s tuition.  What the flying fuck?

That’s as bad as when a professional athlete is accused of aggravated assault and drug possession and all kinds of other shit and gets suspended for like three games.  Um, ok.  I’m sure Asshole-Who-Makes-Twenty-Million-a-Year-Guy really feels the pinch from that punishment.  Granted, they don’t all make seven figures, but how in any way does that punishment fit the crime?

And how does $35,000 deter a big university from sticking with the status quo?  Solution?  Take away all funding.  Punish the entire school.  Force its community of supporters to abandon the institution.  Only then will real change take place on campuses.

Well, I guess people could stop raping.  That would really create an atmosphere of change:

“Hey, frat douche, lonely stalker guy, and drunken professor!  Yeah, you!  Thinking about doing some rape?  Don’t, because it’s really, really, really wrong and the person you want to rape won’t appreciate it.”

That way, just as some psychosociopath is getting ready to whip his (or her) junk out and go all creep on some unsuspecting soul, he (or she) can remember that catchy PSA: Don’t rape. Plus, you may be saving your beloved university $35,000.  And that’s not nothing!

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New rules to fight campus rape?  Don’t.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

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One thought on “Justice: It ain’t free

  1. Your commentary is absolutely brilliant! Everyone should be reading this! I really love the point you make about how the verbiage used to refer to rape (sexual misconduct, sexual assault) influences the way people perceive the act of rape as it softens the interpretation of what takes place when someone is raped. I also completely agree with your point that punishments are not nearly as harsh as they need to be to motivate campus administration (as well as professional athletes) to address the issue of rape effectively. If we want to talk about punishment fitting the crime, we need to think about the lifelong effects of rape. No one ever forgets being raped. They live with the pain, fear, memory and physical effects of rape for their entire lives. Big, money-making institutions, like universities and professional athletic associations, feel the punishment for about 5 minutes and then they’re over it!

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